Food hygiene and special events

If you are preparing a large amount of food for people then food hygiene is even more important. Whether a buffet or a formal meal the onus is on you to ensure that the food is safe as well as being good to eat.

The last thing you want is for your guests to remember the occasion for food poisoning rather then your hospitality!

Here are a few tips to prevent this from happening:


  • Store the food in the fridge until people are ready.
  • Don’t reduce cooking times even if people are waiting to eat or you are behind schedule.
  • Check that food is properly cooked before serving it. Use a food thermometer to do so. If you are not sure then leave it to cook for a bit longer and then check again.
  • If you are short of space then take out any items that can be stored elsewhere such as wine and beer. Fill a bucket with ice and store them in that.


  • If you are having a barbecue then part cook the food in the oven and finish it off on the barbecue. The main risk with a barbecue is undercooked food so turn it regularly and check the middle to see if it is cooked right through.
  • Keep cooked meat separate from raw or partially cooked food. And keep ready to eat foods such as salads away from salads and burger buns.
  • Only start cooking food on a barbecue when the charcoal is glowing red and contains a layer of grey ash. Make sure that you move the food around on the barbecue. And don’t assume that because the outer layer of food is charred it means that it is cooked in the middle. Check this by using a meat skewer or a thermometer.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry away from salads, burger buns and other ready to eat foods.
  • If you are cooking for many people, save time by part cooking the food in the oven and then finish it on the barbecue. This is also a safe way of doing so as it will ensure that the food is cooked right through.
  • Make sure that any frozen food is completely thawed out before use.


  • Any food taken out of the fridge should be put in a cool bag until ready to use. This keeps it cold which will prevent the growth of bacteria. This is especially important for foods such as cakes, trifle and meat/poultry.
  • Keep bowls of food covered until the very last minute.
  • Wash fruit and vegetables/salad before eating.
  • Take antiseptic wipes with you as these are easy to use and disposable as well.

If you are eating out at a restaurant then you have to hope that it adheres to a high standard of hygiene. You can’t go and inspect the kitchen but there are a few things you can look out for:

  • Dirty plates or crockery
  • Staff with dirty uniforms, nails or hair that isn’t tied back (applies to both men and women)
  • Food that isn’t cooked properly or is lukewarm
  • Overflowing bins and rubbish piled up outside
  • Raw and cooked food served together

We know that bacteria and germs can cause food poisoning so apply the ‘four C’s to your food hygiene routine:

The Four ‘C’s

  • Chilling (make full use of your fridge)
  • Cleaning (clean your hands and worktops)
  • Cross-contamination (separate raw meat from cooked meat)
  • Cooking (cook food at temperatures over 70 C to kill bacteria)

Food Hygiene Guide Index:

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